Knowledge xchange: 2015 Educational day





Adoption Knowledge Xchange

Empowering Our Families and Community

An opportunity for adoptive parents and awaiting parents to network,
exchange resources, and build individual and community capacities.


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Keynote Speaker


Let’s Talk Adoption

  • Positive adoption language – words to reinforce that adoption is not “second best”

  • How to answer questions from family, friends, and even strangers – Privacy vs Secrecy

  • Questions that the children in your lives will ask about adoption through the years, and how to answer these questions (this includes questions from other children at home, nieces, nephews, neighbours, classmates,etc.)

  • How to help your child answer questions he/she might get from other children

Sofie Stergianis is a private adoption professional who has worked in the field of adoption since 1981. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Social Work, both from the University of Toronto. Sofie started her adoption career in the Children’s Aid system, and for 14 years worked extensively in adoption and foster care with birth parents, foster families, and adopting families. Since 1994, Sofie has been working as an adoption trainer and adoption practitioner in private practice. She has been offering pre- and post- adoption services and counselling to families, and through the years has been instrumental in assisting with the formation of a multitude of adoptive families, both domestically and internationally.

For almost two decades, Sofie has been offering adoption education seminars, which have received excellent reviews. Sofie is a specialist in all the types of adoptions. She has worked extensively with families formed through Children’s Aid Societies as well as through private Ontario adoptions. She thoroughly understands the nuances of international adoption, and has toured orphanages in a number of different countries. Sofie has offered a variety of different adoption education workshops and lectures, and she has been a guest speaker at a number of conferences. Seminars are highly informative and entertaining, with interesting anecdotes and examples. Sofie has a relaxed and natural style, and participants leave feeling they have learned a great deal in an enjoyable environment.

Sofie is also the co-author of the children’s book entitled What is Adoption? Helping Non-Adopted Children Understand Adoption, which has sold worldwide. As well, Sofie is a parent through adoption, an experience that has greatly assisted Sofie in gaining further experiential insights, which are shared during her trainings.




Healing Hearts

Understanding How Attachment Related Issues Affect a Child’s Ability to Heal and Techniques That Can Help!

Often healing the heart of an adopted child requires some help establishing a stronger connection to their parent(s).  Children can not heal alone and require a strong attuned supportive caregiver to help them emotionally regulate and to lean on when they are working through trauma issues.  This dynamic workshop provides an overview of how to parent the Theraplay way and includes hands on experiences.  The goals of the workshop include: 

  •  Reviewing the impact of change/stress/trauma on children’s behaviour and overall attachment abilities.

  •  Reviews  the importance of attuned, responsiveness and play in attachment formation.

  •  Provides adoptive and long term foster parents with practical techniques to modify negative behaviours in their child through co-regulating experiences and to build positive attachments based on the Theraplay model of parenting which includes Structure, Engagement, Nurture and Challenge.

  • Teaches specific activities designed to engage children in positive interaction at various ages.


Lorie Walton is the Founder and Lead Therapist of Family First Play Therapy Centre Inc, in Bradford, Ontario Canada, a centre focused on assisting children and families dealing with attachment, trauma and emotional and developmental issues. She is a Certified Child Psychotherapist Play Therapist Supervisor and a Certified Theraplay® Therapist Trainer Supervisor. She has extensive training in working with adopted and foster care children who experience attachment related issues and trauma. Along with her private practice in Canada, Lorie is part of the Theraplay® Institute’s International Training team.  Over the last 9 years, she has had the privilege of bringing Theraplay® to communities across Canada, England, and the United States.

Before training to become a Child Psychotherapist Play Therapist, Lorie devoted her life and studies as a Special Needs Resource teacher for children, especially those with Developmental and Physical Disabilities, including Autism. She has worked with the Ministry of Education Program Standards Unit (Ontario, Canada) as well as for the Ministry of Community, Family and Children’s Services, Special Needs Branch (Ontario, Canada) as a consultant in developing programming for children with Special Needs. Her involvement at the community level consists of being a past member of the Board of Directors for Blue Hills Child and Family Services in Aurora Ontario for three years. Lorie was the President for Board of the Canadian Association for Child and Play Therapy (CACPT) from 2005 to 2010. She provides clinical consultation and play therapy clinical supervision to several agencies in Ontario and to Play Therapists and Theraplay Therapists all over the world.  You can reach her at or by calling the centre at 905-775-1620.





PANEL Openness in Adoption 

The benefits of openness in adoption are that adoptive children and youth have the opportunity to maintain meaningful and beneficial relationships as well as be linked to their culture, their history and their identity.  Openness does not mean shared parenting.  Adoptive parents make all the decisions about the child or youth, regardless of any openness arrangement.  The importance of and need for openness can evolve over the course of a child or youth’s life and as per the child or youth’s best interests.  An adoptive parent and an adoptee share their experience in openness and how they embraced it together.

We will have two parents and an adoptee talk about their journey to Openness



The youth will share with you what permanence has meant to them.  By sharing their adoption experience, we will have a better insight into adoption through an adoptee’s lens.  Their stories will not only touch you but they will inspire you.  Sharing their experiences helps us to normalize adoption for ourselves and our children and youth.